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Transnational Community and Identity
In Jalos, USA, Alfredo Mirandé explores migration between the Mexican town of Jalostotitlán, Jalisco, and Turlock, California, and shows how migrants retain a primal identity with their community of origin. The study examines how family, gender, courtship, religion, and culture promote a Mexicanized version of the “American Dream” for la gente de Jalos. After introducing traditional theories of migration and describing a distinctly circular migration pattern between Jalos and Turlock, Mirandé introduces a model of transnationalism. Residents move freely back and forth across the border, often at great risk, adopting a transnational village identity that transcends both the border and conventional national or state identities. Mirandé’s findings are based on participant observation, ethnographic field research, and captivating in-depth personal interviews conducted on both sides of the border with a wide range of respondents. To include multiple perspectives, Mirandé conducts focus group interviews with youth in Jalos and Turlock, as well as interviews with priests and social service providers. Together, these data provide both a rich account of experiences as well as assessments of courtship practices and problems faced by contemporary migrants. Jalos, USA is written in an accessible style that appeals to students and scholars of Latino and migration studies, policy makers, and laypersons interested in immigration, the border, and transnational migration.
Writing Memory, Writing Back to the Mother
Haunted by the memories of her powerfully destructive mother, Jamaica Kincaid is a writer out of necessity. Born Elaine Potter Richardson, Kincaid grew up in the West Indies in the shadow of her deeply contemptuous and abusive mother, Annie Drew. Drawing heavily on Kincaid’s many remarks on the autobiographical sources of her writings, J. Brooks Bouson investigates the ongoing construction of Kincaid’s autobiographical and political identities. She focuses attention on what many critics find so enigmatic and what lies at the heart of Kincaid’s fiction and nonfiction work: the “mother mystery.” Bouson demonstrates, through careful readings, how Kincaid uses her writing to transform her feelings of shame into pride as she wins the praise of an admiring critical establishment and an ever-growing reading public.
Negotiating Sovereignty in Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism
Recognizing that in the contemporary postcolonial moment, national identity and cultural nationalism are no longer the primary modes of imagining sovereignty, Sheri-Marie Harrison argues that postcolonial critics must move beyond an identity-based orthodoxy as they examine problems of sovereignty. In Jamaica’s Difficult Subjects: Negotiating Sovereignty in Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism, Harrison describes what she calls “difficult subjects”—subjects that disrupt essentialized notions of identity as equivalent to sovereignty. She argues that these subjects function as a call for postcolonial critics to broaden their critical horizons beyond the usual questions of national identity and exclusion/inclusion. Harrison turns to Jamaican novels, creative nonfiction, and films from the 1960s to the present and demonstrates how they complicate standard notions of the relationship between national identity and sovereignty. She constructs a lineage between the difficult subjects in classic Caribbean texts like Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and The Harder they Come by Perry Henzell and contemporary writing by Marlon James and Patricia Powell. What results is a sweeping new history of Caribbean literature and criticism that reconfigures how we understand both past and present writing. Jamaica’s Difficult Subjects rethinks how sovereignty is imagined, organized, and policed in the postcolonial Caribbean, opening new possibilities for reading multiple generations of Caribbean writing.
In his day he dominated the political landscape like no one in Ohio’s long, proud history ever had—or likely ever will. James A. Rhodes (1909–2001) plotted a path that took him from tiny Coalton, Ohio, to the governor’s office. In this first biography of Rhodes, his life and political career are scrutinized by those who knew him best—the working press. Written by three journalists who covered Rhodes in overlapping periods, this account traces, often with uproarious humor, his unlikely rise to power. It discusses his four terms as governor, his subsequent 20 years as a political elder, and even his avocation as an inventor.
Rhodes was a far cry from a typical politician, shunning ideology to the point of alienating Republican leaders. He was elected because he promised the unobtainable, and at times he actually delivered. “Find out what people want, and give it to them” was his credo. In private life, he joined cronies in the business world and made millions of dollars, sometimes using inside knowledge to help start commercial ventures.
James A. Rhodes, Ohio Colossus recounts Rhodes’s upbringing in a single-parent household, his modest schooling, and an illness that deprived him of a lung. It chronicles the attempts to tar Rhodes with scandal and the tragedy that indelibly marred his tenure as governor—the National Guard shootings of student protesters at Kent State University in May 1970. His later years as governor were highlighted by his stubborn resistance to environmental protection, something he thought would cost jobs, especially in the coal industry. According to Rhodes, “Every social ill among able-bodied Ohioans” was the consequence of joblessness.
In his post-public life, Rhodes got a patent on a complex system of airlocks and filters making indoor air more than 99 percent germ-free. He envisioned an “Environmental City” that could prolong life. His grandiose ideas didn’t always pan out in the short run, but in some cases they came to fruition years later. He once devised a scheme for a bridge across Lake Erie, which was at first received with public ridicule, and four decades after he proposed it was considered a revolutionary concept.
The office of governor was tailor-made for him and he knew it. He seldom apologized and never looked back.
Donald Capps and John Capps's James and Dewey on Belief and Experience juxtaposes the key writings of two philosophical superstars. As fathers of Pragmatism, America's unique contribution to world philosophy, their work has been enormously influential, and remains essential to any understanding of American intellectual history. _x000B__x000B_In these essays, you'll find William James deeply embroiled in debates between religion and science. Combining philosophical charity with logical clarity, he defended the validity of religious experience against crass forms of scientism. Dewey identified the myriad ways in which supernatural concerns distract religious adherents from pressing social concerns, and sought to reconcile the tensions inherent in science's dual embrace of common sense and the aesthetic._x000B_ _x000B_James and Dewey on Belief and Experience is divided into two sections: the former showcases James, the latter is devoted to Dewey. Two transitional passages in which each reflects on the work of the other bridge these two main segments. Together, the sections offer a unique perspective on the philosophers' complex relationship of influence and interdependence. An editors' introduction provides biographical information about both men, an overview of their respective philosophical orientations, a discussion of the editorial process, and a brief commentary on each of the selections._x000B__x000B_Comparing what these foremost pragmatists wrote on both themes illumines their common convictions regarding the nature of philosophical inquiry and simultaneously reveals what made each a distinctive thinker.
America and Beyond
"This fine collection of essays represents an important contribution to the rediscovery of Baldwin's stature as essayist, novelist, black prophetic political voice, and witness to the Civil Rights era. The title provides an excellent thematic focus. He understood both the necessity, and the impossibility, of being a black 'American' writer. He took these issues 'Beyond'---Paris, Istanbul, various parts of Africa---but this formative experience only returned him to the unresolved dilemmas. He was a fine novelist and a major prophetic political voice. He produced some of the most important essays of the twentieth century and addressed in depth the complexities of the black political movement. His relative invisibility almost lost us one of the most significant voices of his generation. This welcome 'revival' retrieves it. Close call." ---Stuart Hall, Professor Emeritus, Open University This interdisciplinary collection by leading writers in their fields brings together a discussion of the many facets of James Baldwin, both as a writer and as the prophetic conscience of a nation. The core of the volume addresses the shifting, complex relations between Baldwin as an American—“as American as any Texas GI” as he once wryly put it—and his life as an itinerant cosmopolitan. His ambivalent imaginings of America were always mediated by his conception of a world “beyond” America: a world he knew both from his travels and from his voracious reading. He was a man whose instincts were, at every turn, nurtured by America; but who at the same time developed a ferocious critique of American exceptionalism. In seeking to understand how, as an American, he could learn to live with difference—breaking the power of fundamentalisms of all stripes—he opened an urgent, timely debate that is still ours. His America was an idea fired by desire and grief in equal measure. As the authors assembled here argue, to read him now allows us to imagine new possibilities for the future. With contributions by Kevin Birmingham, Douglas Field, Kevin Gaines, Briallen Hopper, Quentin Miller, Vaughn Rasberry, Robert Reid-Pharr, George Shulman, Hortense Spillers, Colm Tóibín, Eleanor W. Traylor, Cheryl A. Wall, and Magdalena Zaborowska.
Witness to the Journey
James Baldwin’s Later Fiction examines the decline of Baldwin’s reputation after the middle 1960s, his tepid reception in mainstream and academic venues, and the ways in which critics have often mis-represented and undervalued his work. Scott develops readings of Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Just Above My Head that explore the interconnected themes in Baldwin’s work: the role of the family in sustaining the arts, the price of success in American society, and the struggle of black artists to change the ways that race, sex, and masculinity are represented in American culture.
Scott argues that Baldwin’s later writing crosses the cultural divide between the 1950s and 1960s in response to the civil rights and black power movements. Baldwin’s earlier works, his political activism and sexual politics, and traditions of African American autobiography and fiction all play prominent roles in Scott’s analysis.
As James Buchanan took office in 1857, the United States found itself at a crossroads. Dissolution of the Union had been averted and the Democratic Party maintained control of the federal government, but the nation watched to see if Pennsylvania's first president could make good on his promise to calm sectional tensions.
Despite Buchanan's central role in a crucial hour in U.S. history, few presidents have been more ignored by historians. In assembling the essays for this volume, Michael Birkner and John Quist have asked leading scholars to reconsider whether Buchanan’s failures stemmed from his own mistakes or from circumstances that no president could have overcome.
Buchanan's dealings with Utah shed light on his handling of the secession crisis. His approach to Dred Scott reinforces the image of a president whose doughface views were less a matter of hypocrisy than a thorough identification with southern interests. Essays on the secession crisis provide fodder for debate about the strengths and limitations of presidential authority in an existential moment for the young nation.
Although the essays in this collection offer widely differing interpretations of Buchanan's presidency, they all grapple honestly with the complexities of the issues faced by the man who sat in the White House prior to the towering figure of Lincoln, and contribute to a deeper understanding of a turbulent and formative era.
James Cameron (b. 1954) is lauded as one of the most successful and innovative filmmakers of the last thirty years. His films often break records, both in their massive budgets and in their box-office earnings. They include such hits as The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Titanic, and Avatar. Part scientist, part dramatist, Cameron combines these two qualities into inventive and captivating films that often push the boundaries of special effects to accommodate his imagination. James Cameron: Interviews chronicles the writer-director's rise through the Hollywood system, highlighted by his "can-do" attitude and his insatiable drive to make the best film possible.
As a young boy growing up in Canada, Cameron imagined himself an astronaut, a deep-sea explorer, a science fiction writer, or a filmmaker. Transplanted to southern California, he would go on to realize many of those boyhood fantasies.
This collection of interviews provides glimpses of the filmmaker as he advances from Roger Corman's underling to "king of the world." The interviews are drawn from a number of sources including TV appearances and conversations on blogs, which have never been published in print. Spanning more than twenty years, this collection constructs a concise and thorough examination of Cameron, a filmmaker who has almost single-handedly ushered Hollywood into the twenty-first century.
The Many Faces of Rebel Iconography
After the death of James Dean in 1955, the figure of the teen rebel permeated the globe, and its presence is still felt in the twenty-first century. Rebel iconography—which does not have to resemble James Dean himself, but merely incorporates his disaffected attitude—has become an advertising mainstay used to sell an array of merchandise and messages. Despite being overused in advertisements, it still has the power to surprise when used by authors and filmmakers in innovative and provocative ways. The rebel figure has mass appeal precisely because of its ambiguities; it can mean anything to anyone. The global appropriation of rebel iconography has invested it with fresh meanings. Author Claudia Springer succeeds here in analyzing both ends of the spectrum—the rebel icon as a tool in upholding capitalism’s cycle of consumption, and as a challenge to that cycle and its accompanying beliefs. In this groundbreaking study of rebel iconography in international popular culture, Springer studies a variety of texts from the United States and abroad that use this imagery in contrasting and thought-provoking ways. Using a cultural studies approach, she analyzes films, fiction, poems, Web sites, and advertisements to determine the extent to which the icon’s adaptations have been effective as a response to the actual social problems affecting contemporary adolescents around the world.